How To Pack: By A Notorious Over-Packer

In a few days I will embark on a Messiah to the motherland, taking the free trip to Israel that my people have granted me on the grounds that my mother is Jewish and I am too poor to get to Israel myself.  On Birthright, a Jewish Israeli charity that sponsors free 10 day heritage trips to Israel for 18-25 year olds, I will be suddenly thrust back into trust-fall bonding sessions, dormitory style housing,  and an extreme variety of activities that range from climbing mountains to attending Seders to clubbing in Tel Aviv to splashing in the mucky mucky of the Dead Sea. Since worrying about how I will possibly have enough energy to climb a mountain and make life long friendships while jet-lagged and hungover from Manishevitz will just make my head explode, I will instead focus my nervous energy on packing for such an multifaceted adventure.

I love the chaos and excitement of visiting a new country, and I’m usually the type to throw whatever looks good in a big duffel the night before a flight and then realize later that those vintage heels may not have been the best choice when visiting the slippery cobblestone streets of Prague in the middle of winter. But this time, with tips from others who have made this journey before me and the spirit voice of my mother nagging me to “think practically”, I am determined to actually be prepared. Here are a few ways to pack prepared for any circumstance.

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    • Avodah

      They don’t really drink Manischewitz in Israel. That is kind of a throw-back cliche from the suburbs of a Philip Roth novel.

    • Jaimie

      I’m going on birthright as well! When do you leave? I fly out of JFK on January 29th. I’m staying in Israel for 2 months afterwards and then traveling to the UK for a month. Are you extending your trip? I’m attempting to do all this with 1 75 liter camping backpack. Am I insane? Probably. Have an amazing trip!

    • Emma

      You’re gonna need to change up your shoe selection.Tennis shoes are ok, but real sneakers would give you better grip. Skip the boots, you wont wear them in israel at all. Get a pair of supported flats you can wear climbing up and down Safed and cobblestone streets, doubt the wedges will be really sensible for all-day walking around. They really run you ragged. Plus what are you gonna wear to the beach? Pack some flip flops because we went to 3 different beaches and I was so glad I had them. Wedges might be good for Temple/friday night and clubbing.

    • Dubi

      You really should pack 5 pairs of flip-flops. And 8 lipsticks for each candle burning.